Capturing the Look

Published in Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival INDETAIL*:

Hosted by Angie Rehe at the Patsyfox Drawing Salon, ‘Capturing The Look’ was a workshop that introduced outsiders to the world of fashion illustrations, where art and fashion amalgamated together to create one spectacular portrait.

Being a fashion writer rather than a fashion illustrator, this class was tantamount to being thrown into the deep end of a pool with the vain hope of coming out swimming.

And safe to say, coming out swimming was what I did – with Angie’s help of course.

Prior to this workshop, I had no knowledge whatsoever in the field. Despite following many artists on social media, I had never dabbled in fashion illustrations purely because I felt it was too out of my league. After some negative experiences during art class back in secondary school, I had decided long ago that I was much more adverse with the art of written words rather than with a canvas and paintbrush.

Nonetheless my interest in fashion illustration remained the same, and attending this class came from a sense of fascinating curiosity – just how did these artists do it? Was there a system? Would one portrait take hours or minutes to complete? What was their world really like?

Angie took us through all of that and more, teaching us all the fundamentals of fashion illustration from how to establish focal points to the importance of subtlety. After some practise exercises, she surprised us with a live-model sketching which, despite some shrieks of horror from the class, wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Establish body proportions first, remembering the power of the ‘S Curve’ technique, experimentation with colour, outline the finishing touches and viola, each of us had something of good quality that was possibly even frame worthy.

Overall, what the workshop reinforced was the old age mantra that less is more. Art isn’t something that should be thought about, it should be felt – like when a bolt of inspiration strikes so hard that it ignites your arms with energy as you fluently move with the paintbrush. Don’t think, just draw.

As for learning about the world of a fashion illustrator? With huge clients to her name, Angie Rehe has been there and done that all too many times. So much so that it is sometimes a wonder why people would even pursue fashion illustrating as a career. From ridiculous requirements from clients, impossible turnover times and models that constantly move as you draw them, it begs the question – why do it at all? And the answer is this: for many of us artists, whether illustrators or writers, art isn’t just a career but a lifestyle and our passion.

We’re not in it for the money. We’re in it for the love.

Click here to find out more about the The Patsyfox Drawing Salon.

Aleczander Gamboa is a finalist in the Festival’s Fashion Writing Series as part of the 2016 Cultural Program. To view Aleczander’s portfolio, click here or  follow him on twitterhere.

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